aswaaq is a retail chain based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It owns community centres that host state-of-the-art supermarkets, complemented by a range of shops and services. From the start, the company put Microsoft technologies at the core of its operations, and built an IT infrastructure based on Microsoft Dynamics NAV and LS Nav. Employees use the system to manage all their needs—from point of sale to back-office management—which improves productivity and reduces costs.
Interview with Affan Al Khoori, COO at aswaaq
The UAE is one of the fastest growing economies in the world. This thriving economy has resulted in a wealthy population, with a high proportion of individuals and families expecting top-quality services in all spheres of life.
This demand has encouraged the establishment of many new companies but these businesses operate in an increasingly competitive environment. This is especially true of the retail industry, where organizations have to develop innovative sales and service concepts to generate business and promote customer and employee loyalty.
In response to this challenge, aswaaq—a new venture partly owned by the Dubai Government—is developing the largest chain of technologically advanced community centers in the UAE. Each community center includes a central supermarket, and provides rented space to local businesses such as barbers, gyms, and pharmacies. The goal of the company is to create a unique and innovative shopping experience for its customers, while providing employees with an efficient and reliable working environment based on the latest technology.
aswaaq initially considered Oracle and SAP technologies, but decided they were too expensive and inflexible. Instead, Sajwani and his colleagues decided on a service-oriented architecture based on Microsoft Dynamics NAV and LS Retail software solutions.
The company worked with Microsoft Gold Certified Partner, Dynamic Vertical Solutions (DVS), to design and implement the products. With assistance from DVS, aswaaq deployed a fully standardized IT environment that integrates all its computer systems and applications. The solution centrally manages all of the company’s data and processes, including:
Financials and fixed assets
Point-of-sale transactions, such as next-generation credit card payments
Human resource and payroll tasks
Supply chain and stock management processes, with support for handheld devices
A customer relationship management system
Electronic shelf edge labelling
Bill Tomlinson, General Manager of the MEA branch of DVS, says: “The solution is fully compatible with a range of third-party applications designed specifically for a Microsoft Dynamics NAV retail environment. For example, we implemented LS Nav, an application that delivers increased business intelligence, improved merchandise decision making, enhanced scalability, and real-time performance reports. Also, we integrated a credit card payment system that customers can use to pay for items electronically.”
Deployment started in January 2008 and proceeded quickly. The first store became operational in October, followed by many more in the succeeding years. Today aswaaq runs:
6 communities centers
And can count on:
Over 3.7 million customers
Over 400 employees
Over 23 thousands Wafa (Loyalty Program) members
Sajwani says: “One of our top priorities is to offer employment to the local community. With scalable technology that’s easy to use, we can train employees to use the system quickly, providing them with essential business skills.” This approach contributes to their 14% annual growth.
With its Microsoft Dynamics NAV and LS Retail software management system, aswaaq has revolutionized the retail industry and provides its customers with a unique, modern shopping experience. In addition, employees can operate in a technologically advanced, but easy-to-use, working environment. Sajwani says: “Microsoft Dynamics NAV and LS Nav offer a comprehensive, cost-effective, and standardized solution that fulfils all our needs. With it, we’ve enhanced the shopping experience for customers and employees alike.”
Enhances customer service by delivering a comfortable shopping experience:
Shortened shopping time by guiding customers thanks to an advanced loyalty app and mapped store grids
Improved checkout experience through self scanning and personal shopper
Empowering the customer in-store and off-store
Improves business management and efficiency. Directors have a 360-degree view of business operations and can make immediate decisions that improve the organization.
Reduces manual labor. Automatic processes remove unnecessary manual tasks. For example, electronic shelf labeling saves 90 per cent of store assistants’ time because the labels are updated instantly.
Reduces training costs. The solution operates using the intuitive Windows® interface. Employees can be quickly trained to use the system at little cost.
Simplifies license management reducing the company’s licensing costs and receiving support in delivering new features.
Empower employees with technology aimed at serving customers better, for example through smart tag and shopper alerts.
Supports green agenda. aswaaq uses the technology to meet its strict environmental policy. With their chosen combined solution, it can reduce the volume of paper used throughout the business and aims to create a 100 per cent paperless environment.
Increases development potential. With Microsoft Dynamics business management solutions, the company can easily access different applications and technologies to support the development of new products and services.
Today’s consumers expect supermarkets to custom-design experiences to fit their needs. To do this, we wanted a comprehensive IT infrastructure that could manage all aspects of our automated processes. The solution had to reduce manual labor, maximize efficiencies, and give our customers the best service possible.